by Taylor Hawkins, ETC blog contributor

Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Home Chef, Plated…ring a bell? It seems like companies are coming out of the wood work to create meal kit delivery services. Nothing beats a meal in a box, waiting to be prepared, delivered to your doorstep, right? But, which is the best option for you? How are they different and how much do they cost?  Are they a good replacement to the tried and true trip to the grocery store?

 

What are home meal delivery services?

Imagine three nights’ worth of fresh, portioned ingredients and recipes arriving on your doorstep, all at the click of a button. A meal kit delivery service is a subscription that sends customers food ingredients and recipes to prepare their own fresh meals. Don’t know how to cook? They have you covered and you will become a chef in no time!

 

The difference

Some of the meal delivery services offer diabetic, vegetarian, or vegan-friendly recipes, as well as promoting organic and sustainable ingredients. I recommend doing your research if you have any dietary restrictions or prefer certain ingredients.

All about the $
Company Cost per serving
Blue Apron $8.99
Home Chef $9.95
Plated $9.95
Hello Fresh $9.99

 

This breakdown is per serving and serving sizes can range from 2-6 servings per meal depending on the company. The total price of each box can vary depending on how many meals you receive per week and family size, but are often much more expensive than if you were to do your own shopping for your favorite recipes! When shopping around for the option that is best for you, be mindful of discounts. When writing this post, I magically started receiving emails from Hello Fresh with coupons! Creepy or a sign…

 

Personal Reviews

I have tried Home Chef courtesy of my dad and step-mom. I like to think I know how to cook, but found the recipes accurate, ingredients fresh, and liked that everything was portioned out. For some recipes, I did not use all ingredients and used the leftovers for another Home Chef meal or a meal of my own. There was one meal I was not the biggest fan of, but, again, I did not choose the meals. Because these companies do all the recipe choosing for you, meal delivery services can be a fun way to experiment with new recipes, but can leave you craving your favorite ingredients and dishes.

Lynne recently tried one of these services, thanks to a friend. Unfortunately, half of her ingredients were squished or moldy! One disadvantage is the inability to hand select your ingredients to make sure the quality meets your standards. Definitely something to keep in mind when deciding if meal delivery services are for you! For Lynne, they were not!  She’s decided that having control over what recipes and ingredients she uses and prepares, outweighs the convenience of it all, preferring to stick to flexible meals plans like the one’s offered by Eat the Chocolate.

 

Of course, there are many more meal kit delivery services out there. Feel free to explore a more in-depth review here.  If you have tried a meal kit delivery service or plan to, leave a comment below!  Was your experience good like mine or bad like Lynne’s? At the end of the day, we are all doing our best. Don’t give up. Love yourself. And #eatthechocolate.

Taylor currently a distance dietetic intern with Wellness Workdays in Hingham, Massachusetts. Her alma mater is Kent State University in Kent, Ohio where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition & Dietetics and Exercise Physiology. She enjoys yoga, photography, cooking, and reading, and plans to continue her education to receive a Master’s in Health Education and Promotion.  She is passionate about helping others through diet and exercise and would like to specialize in pediatrics, diabetes, or sports nutrition.  Learn more about Taylor at http://taylor-hawkins.weebly.com.